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Displaying items by tag: minke whales

#MarineWildlife - A humpback whale new to Irish waters has been confirmed by the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG).

Photos of the humpback's fluke and dorsal fin captured by Nick Massett off Clogher and Sybil Heads in West Kerry at the weekend were examined by the IWDG's catalogue experts who have determined that the whale is a new arrival - and one with a fluke colouring that's rarely seen in Irish waters.

Details have since been sent to Allied Whale in the US state of Maine - which curates the North Atlantic humpback whale catalogue - to see if a match can be made among its database of more than 7,000 fluke images.

Meanwhile, Wildlife Extra reports that sailors in the Irish Sea are urged to keep a lookout for a large group of minke whales.

The group includes three juveniles and a calf previously spotted some 19 miles east of Ireland's Eye near Howth.

"Although sightings of Minke whale are to be expected in these waters, such a large group is a rare occurrence," said Danielle Gibas, sightings officer with the UK's Sea Watch Foundation, which is organising Britain's annual National Whale and Dolphin Watch this week till 3 August.

And in other cetacean news, scientists claim that dolphins call each other by name, calling back to the sound of their signature whistle but ignoring whistles that aren't theirs.

Herald.ie reports on the findings by marine scientists at the University of St Andrews, who studied a bottlenose dolphin group off the east coast of Scotland.

Using underwater speakers, they played synthesised versions of dolphin whistles they'd identified with particular dolphins to determine their reactions.

They were surprised to find that individuals called back after hearing their own 'name' but ignored others, whether they were for dolphins in the same group or strangers.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MarineWildlife - The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group is reporting a "high volume of sightings" of minke whales - plus the odd fin whale - off the coasts of West Cork and Kerry as this week's heatwave continues to bask the country.

The first reports from the early part of the week showed a big increase of sightings and activity in the southwest region - but also off Mullaghmore, the popular surfing spot in Co Sligo, where as many as three minkes were spotted last weekend, and as far afield as Belfast Lough where several minke whales were photographed.

As the week progressed, the first confirmed sighting of a fin whale came in from Slea Head in Co Kerry in waters teeming with six minke whales and around 150 common dolphins.

And a whale watch trip of West Cork came into range of an amazing 12 minke whales, including a number of juveniles who seemed to make a game of swimming around the watchers' vessel.

The latest reports came in on Thursday from Baltimore and Clougher Head, which indicate that fin whales may be arriving here in big numbers. Here's hoping a few humpbacks will follow in their wake!

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MarineWildlife - The whale watching season is well under way off the coast of Wexford, as the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) reported its first sightings of 2013 this week.

Just an hour into the maiden cetacean spotting voyage of the IWDG's new research vessel Celtic Mist at the weekend, members of the group were treated to the sight of fin whales and minke whales feeding south of Hook Head - not to mention some of the 'superpod' of dolphins seen last week in the Irish Sea.

And as World Irish reports, local wildlife ranger Tony Murray spotted the first humpback whale of the year in the same area.

Murray suggested that "a large herring haul going on in the southeast at the moment" is the main attraction for the ocean giants and their smaller, more plentiful companions.

The IWDG's Facebook page has a photo gallery containing some stunning snapshots of the day's excursion HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MARINE WILDLIFE - A "feeding frenzy" involving a pod of fin whales was spotted off Hook Head in Co Wexford last week, The Irish Times reports.

And according to Andrew Malcolm of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG), two of the whales were in the same location almost exactly a year ago.

Malcolm, who was with a group on board the Rebecca C, used photographs of the whale's dorsal fins to compare records for the confirmation.

The pod of six fin whales was seen feeding some 3km southeast of Hook Head, attracted by the herring spawning grounds in the area.

More than 30 other cetaceans, including common dolphins, porpoises and a minke whale, were sighted on the trip.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife
The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) has announced two new reports of whale spottings off the Irish coast in recent days.
On 14 October the east coast rescue helicopter spotted a group of at least five lunge-feeding whales just four miles off Dunany Point on the southern side of Dundalk Bay.
Their relatively small size, white banding on the pectoral fin and absense of any obvious blow confirmed them to be minkes - a marine wildlife record for the area.
"This is further proof, not that it is needed, that there is a growing list of places outside of the expected 'hotspots' where whale activity is now being documented," said the IWDG's Pádraig Whooley.
Yet more were spotted on the opposite coast the day after, when Nick Massett reported up to a dozen minke whales in a 1.5-mile box off Slea Head, near Dingle.
Meanwhile, this week a group of four killer whales was observed by the FV Celtic Cross on the prawn grounds off Co Louth, travelling in a north-westerly direction towards Dundalk Bay.
"There may well be something very interesting happening in this section of the Irish Sea that is attracting both baleen and toothed whale in the same area," said Whooley.

The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) has announced two new reports of whale spottings off the Irish coast in recent days.

On 14 October the east coast rescue helicopter spotted a group of at least five lunge-feeding whales just four miles off Dunany Point on the southern side of Dundalk Bay. 

Their relatively small size, white banding on the pectoral fin and absense of any obvious blow confirmed them to be minkes - a marine wildlife record for the area.

"This is further proof, not that it is needed, that there is a growing list of places outside of the expected 'hotspots' where whale activity is now being documented," said the IWDG's Pádraig Whooley.

Yet more were spotted on the opposite coast the day after, when Nick Massett reported up to a dozen minke whales in a 1.5-mile box off Slea Head, near Dingle.

Meanwhile, this week a group of four killer whales was observed by the FV Celtic Cross on the prawn grounds off Co Louth, travelling in a north-westerly direction towards Dundalk Bay.

"There may well be something very interesting happening in this section of the Irish Sea that is attracting both baleen and toothed whale in the same area," said Whooley.

Published in Marine Wildlife
Though they failed to track down the elusive humpback whales, IWDG members were recently treated to their first sighting of fin whales in Co Kerry's inshore waters.
With permission from the Haughey family to land on Inis Mhic Aoibhleáin - the most westerly point in Europe - as a vantage point, 20 members of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group set out south towards the Scelligs following tell-tale blows.
Amid hundreds of dolphins and as many as 11 minke whales seen throughout the day, the first fin whale was found 10 miles south of the Blaskets.
Two more were spotted 4 miles northwest of Sceilig Mhichíl, both of which were biopsied.
"What we observed was spectacular activity in an area which appeared to be devoid of life just the week before," said the IWDG's Conor Ryan.
The IWDG has more on the story, including photos, HERE.

Though they failed to track down the elusive humpback whales, IWDG members were recently treated to their first sighting of fin whales in Co Kerry's inshore waters.

With permission from the Haughey family to land on Inis Mhic Aoibhleáin - the most westerly point in Europe - as a vantage point, 20 members of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group set out south towards the Scelligs following tell-tale blows.

Amid hundreds of dolphins and as many as 11 minke whales seen throughout the day, the first fin whale was found 10 miles south of the Blaskets. 

Two more were spotted 4 miles northwest of Sceilig Mhichíl, both of which were biopsied.

"What we observed was spectacular activity in an area which appeared to be devoid of life just the week before," said the IWDG's Conor Ryan.

The IWDG has more on the story, including photos, HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife
The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) has validated 175 sighting records for June 2011.
The most commonly recorded species were bottlenose dolphins, accounting for 28 per cent  of all sightings, followed by harbour porpoise (25%), minke whales (13.6%), common dolphins (9%) and basking sharks (5%).
Other sightings included Risso's dolphins, killer whales, fin whales, humpback whales (0.6%) and pilot whales.
Clearly, with basking shark sightings evaporating from a trickle to a drip, we can draw a close to the 2011 basking shark season.
"This is the second consecutive year that basking shark sightings have declined, with a 36 per cent drop in sightings on the same period in 2010," said IWDG sightings co-ordinator Pádraig Whooley.
The total numbers compare with 270 sightings in June 2010. "The 35 per cent drop in sightings reflects the vagaries of Irish summers," Whooley added.
He also noted that this year marks the first time that the biggest cluster of sightings was off the coast of Co Dublin.
The IWDG has more on the story HERE.

The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) has validated 175 large marine wildlife sighting records for June 2011.

The most commonly recorded species were bottlenose dolphins, accounting for 28 per cent  of all sightings, followed by harbour porpoise (25%), minke whales (13.6%), common dolphins (9%) and basking sharks (5%).

Other sightings included Risso's dolphins, killer whales, fin whales, humpback whales and pilot whales. 

"This is the second consecutive year that basking shark sightings have declined, with a 36 per cent drop in sightings on the same period in 2010," said IWDG sightings co-ordinator Pádraig Whooley.

The total numbers compare with 270 sightings in June 2010. "The 35 per cent drop in sightings reflects the vagaries of Irish summers," Whooley added.

He also noted that this year marks the first time that the biggest cluster of sightings was off the coast of Co Dublin.

The IWDG has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife
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